Hi there! Emily here from Hunter Podiatry Services checkin in to give you the do’s and don’ts of foot hygiene. Having healthy toe spaces is something we all take for granted- until something goes wrong!
Toe jam; gross, but what actually is it?
Toe jam is a non-medical term for debris in between the toes. It is usually made up of dead skin, dirt, sock fluff etc. It is usually worse for people who have sweaty feet and can harbour fungi and bacteria. It can lead to infections and often smells bad!
Other complications like interdigital (between the toes) tinea, blistering, warts and even more sinister presentations like melanomas are issues podiatrists are constantly on the look out for. Prevention is better than a cure, so for this reason I wanted to share some practical do’s and don’ts for foot hygiene;
- Clean and dry between your toes after showering and bathing. Even after getting out of the pool or beach. Making sure the space between your toes is dry and there is no debris or dirt stuck down there. This is super important as bacteria/fungi love warm and moist environments and can create fungal or bacterial infections on your feet. Use a clean towel to wipe and dry between each digit.
If you have difficulty bending to dry/clean between your toes there are alternatives around this including using a long handled toe washer. These can be found at Ansteys or other mobility stores.
- Let your feet get some air time. Let your feet breathe in the sun (just a little bit) and fresh air, especially if your feet are often in enclosed shoes or socks. Airing out work boots, joggers and school shoes is also a great idea to kill any harbouring bacteria and funky smells.
- Check your feet regularly, pull your toes away from each other and make sure there is nothing foreign between them. Look out for discolouration of the skin, lumps, bumps or blisters, anything unusual, get in touch with your podiatrist. Doing this simple task and making it a habit can prevent complications occurring such as fungal infections.
- Apply corn pads between your toes. Sometimes corns can appear between our digits that can rub and cause discomfort. Avoid sticking corn pads on these types of corns as they are often already quite soft and corn pads may macerate or deteriorate the skin further. Try a cotton ball instead or book an appointment with your podiatrist to assess and treat the area accordingly.
- Apply cream between your toes. This is common one podiatrists see, similar to not cleaning or drying between the toes, cream often won’t dry between the digits and the moisture will linger in the spaces and can break down the skin or create a moist environment for bugs or bacteria.
Urea based emollients and other creams are great for our heels and tops of our feet but not a good idea between the toes. If necessary a deodorising or antifungal spray can be applied instead.
These are some simple tips to keep those interdigital spaces beautiful. If you have any questions please reach out!